Blessed Fr. Sopocko
Knowing God in the Merciful Savior
Blessed Michael Sopocko, the spiritual director to St. Faustina, aided her greatly in the initial spread of the message of Divine Mercy, which was given to her from heaven. It was Blessed Sopocko that commissioned the first image of Divine Mercy. He worked and studied to promote the message for many years after the death of St. Faustina. He did a great deal of theological research to show how the writings of St. Faustina and the requests in her Diary were in accord with sound Church teaching. He knew there would be a time when the message would be banned because St. Faustina predicted this in her Diary, but that it would return after both of them were in "the next life." Now, not only is his work shown to be justified, but he himself is now to join St. Faustina in being raised to the honors of the altar.
One book written by Blessed Michael Sopocko is God is Mercy. This book was published in English by the Marians in both the 1950s and 1960s. It is one of the books that could continue to be printed after the ban because it considers God's mercy strictly from a scriptural and theological perspective. The first chapter, presented here, is concerned with the knowledge of God. The passage from chapter 17 of the Gospel of John is looked at in two ways. First there is knowledge of God through Jesus, and second how this knowledge is "everlasting life." Before we can have knowledge of the mercy of God, we must first know God through Jesus.
— Fr. John Larson, MIC
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, have mercy on us.
"Now this is everlasting life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Him, Whom Thou has sent, Jesus Christ."
— John 17:13
I. HUMAN reason can have knowledge of God by observing the visible things of nature, but, on account of original sin, it attains truth only imperfectly and with great difficulty, especially the ultimate Truth — God. It was fitting, then, that God should become Man in order to permit man to know Him more easily. In the Person of Jesus Christ, God reveals Himself to the people. In Him are seen all the perfections of God:
"Philip, he who sees Me sees also the Father. How canst thou say, 'Show us the Father?' Dost thou not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speck to you I speak not on My own authority. But the Father dwelling in me, it is He Who does the works. Do you believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? Otherwise believe because of the works themselves" (John 14:9-11).
In this manner, in His teaching, in His whole life, and particularly in His passion, death, resurrection, and ascension does Christ Our Lord give us an object-lesson about God and His perfections. People do not know God because they do not know Christ. "No one has at any time seen God. The only begotten Son Who is in the bosom of the Father, He has revealed Him" (John 1:18).
Christ, a descendant of David through His blood relations, is a perfect Man. Yet He is also true God. Everything that He brought and gave to mankind was longed for from eternity and will have eternal worth. Let us not be mistaken by His dress and manner of life, which followed the fashion and customs of the Jews and Galileans, but rather let us pay attention to what in Him has eternal meaning for us, and what He bestowed on mankind: He revealed to us the unfathomable perfections of God, and through this, made it possible for us to know and love God, and made us His brothers as well as adopted children of God.
Jesus, I desire Thee, I look for Thee, I want to Know Thee, for in Thee will I know the Heavenly Father. Come, O Lord, and enlighten me. I trust that Thy Image will shine before me, that Thy Face will dispel the darkness in my soul, and moreover, that Thy radiant Face will warm my cold heart by enkindling in it the fire of Divine Love.
Christ, hear us! Christ, graciously hear us!
II. "NOW this is everlasting life, that they may know Thee ... (John 17:3). Knowing god is life everlasting, or plainly, it is Life. For this reason, we often read that we possess eternal life already on earth. "He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has life everlasting" (John 6:55). In his first epistle, John the Apostle says, "God has given us eternal life; and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life" (1 John 5:11-12). Elsewhere, he states, "...No murderer has eternal life abiding in him" (1 John 3:15), consequently the just man has eternal life already in this life.
What is "eternal life" in this life? It is sanctifying grace, through which we become adopted children of God and partakers of God's Life. On earth eternal life is concealed in the darkness of worldliness, flesh, corruptibility, "And the light shines in darkness" (John 1:5), but its attributes will be revealed in the future life. This future life will not be a new one for the sons of the light, but rather a lifting of the veil, when they stand before God, face to face. Therefore we possess eternal life already here on earth by knowing God in Christ, and through the grace of being God's adopted sons and partakers of His Divine Life.
We attain a knowledge of God through our cooperation with Him. At Baptism, God pours into the soul the grace of faith, and it is the soul's part to cooperate with this grace. To the one who cooperates with God, He grants the gift of wisdom, which is so necessary in attaining higher perfection and sanctity and a greater knowledge and love of God. Thanks to this gift, the elect can walk in the presence of God and avoid sin. The gift of knowing God was bestowed on the Apostles by the Holy Ghost at Pentecost. God does not usually grant this gift without our cooperation for it though fervent prayers, chastity, and daily meditations.
I heartily want and desire to know Thee, O God! Therefore, I will guard the chastity of my thoughts, words and deeds, I will meditate daily, and my prayer will be: "Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison." Lord, have mercy! Christ, have mercy!
O Jesus, grant me the spirit of wisdom, so that I may know God and have eternal life.